Not so much ‘Ok Boomer’ as ‘Ok Ruling Class”

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THE RELIEF of the ruling class can only be imagined. Thirty years after the collapse of actually existing socialism in Eastern Europe, they have more or less faded into invisibility. The ruling class (also known as the bourgeoisie) along with the proletariat, are now little-used politico-historical terms: as distant from today’s activists as the “patricians” and “plebeians” of Ancient Rome.

If you’re lucky, the villains of the twenty-first century Left are the “One Percent”. Otherwise, the people’s enemies are identified by characteristics over which they have no control: ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and age. The fact that, 80 years ago, belonging to the wrong ethnicity and/or sexual orientation was enough to get you exterminated by the Nazis is but one of the many ironies associated with contemporary leftists.

Even the “One Percent” designation, introduced into popular discourse by the short-lived “Occupy Movement”, is a curiously disembodied term. To be a member of the One Percent is an entirely passive condition. You are a statistic. A percentage of the population made relevant solely by another percentage – i.e. the quantum of societal wealth your statistical sliver possesses.

Once again, a person’s villainy has nothing to do with what they do and everything to do with what they are. The other disturbing aspect of Occupy’s vilification of the One Percent was the way in which the remaining 99 percent of the population were let entirely off the hook. As if 1 percent of any group has ever been able to control the other 99 percent without a lot of help!

The contrast with Karl Marx’s world of class agency could hardly be more stark. To read his (and Friedrich Engels’) The Communist Manifesto is to enter a world in which classes act. To be a member of the bourgeoisie is to be in constant motion. This is because, once secured, economic, political and social power must be constantly reinforced and protected. Proletarians, likewise, are constantly struggling to weaken the grip of their capitalist masters. In Marx’s defining sentence: “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.”

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In other words: the human order is made and reproduced by human action. Which means the human order can be changed by human action. Our destiny is not predetermined by our ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or age, but by how effectively we participate in class struggle.

Sadly, the effectiveness with which working-class New Zealanders – New Zealand proletarians – have struggled against the more-or-less continuous onslaught of the New Zealand ruling class and its bourgeois helpers has been sub-optimal. They allowed themselves to be betrayed by the country’s trade union bureaucracy in 1991, and remained pathetically loyal to a Labour Party which had, between 1984 and 1990, dismantled the social-democratic economy their parents and grandparents had struggled so hard to establish in the 1930s and 40s. The most highly-skilled and enterprising members of the New Zealand working class decamped in their thousands for Australia. Those who remained were forced into competition with the swelling numbers of immigrant workers who were admitted to make good the shortfall.

Unsurprisingly, this process produced innumerable socio-economic victims and with them enormous socio-economic resentment and rage. To an extent not before seen in New Zealand, it became necessary to obscure the suffering of these working-class citizens and, at all costs, prevent it from assuming a political dimension.

This has always been a major aspect of the bourgeoisie’s function in capitalist society, but in the aftermath of the neoliberal revolution of the 1980s and 90s it came to absorb an ever-greater amount of middle-class energy. A great deal of that energy was devoted to making sure that the class oppression in which more and more of them were now engaged remained hidden – not only from their victims, but also from themselves. In essence, this involved masking conscious human agency behind the immutable markers of human identity. The rise of what we have come to call “Identity Politics” represents the ideological manifestation of the ruling class’s objective need to destroy class politics, and of the middle-class’s subjective need to justify their participation in the process.

Redirecting the rage and resentment of those on the receiving end of neoliberal economic policy away from those actually responsible – the capitalist ruling class and its middle-class enablers – was always going to involve a pretty substantive re-interpretation of social reality. It meant recasting the malignant behaviours associated with poverty and powerlessness as the inherent failings of particular human sub-groups: whites, males, straights and, most recently and ridiculously, Baby Boomers.

Is it really the contention of the 55-year-olds-and-under who now blame the Boomers for all their present woes, that every human-being born on the planet in the years 1946-1965 has benefited unfairly from the economic, social and political trends of subsequent decades? Even the billions of people born in the Third World? The millions more born in the Soviet Bloc? Are they really insisting that there was not a huge discrepancy between the experiences of working-class Baby Boomers living in the capitalist west and their middle-class compatriots growing up alongside them? If so, then the degree of Gen-X and Millennial self-deception; their inability to recognise what has actually been happening around them since 1984 – or the role they and their own middle-class families have played in it – is astonishing.

What a victory for the ruling class! To create at least two generations incapable of understanding that the wealth and comfort of their middle-class parents was the necessary price of their complicity in destroying the self-defence mechanisms of the New Zealand working-class. Or that their own difficulties in replicating their parents’ lifestyle is purely and simply because their parents’ success was so comprehensive that the going rate for oppressing the lower orders of society has fallen sharply. How pleasing it must be for those at the top to see how much more willing the young are to turn on their parents and grandparents than on the true villains – the ruling class.

If the members of Generation X and the Millennial Generation really want to improve their lifestyles, then they should force up the price of complicity in class oppression by threatening to embrace or, even better, adopt for a generation or two, the precepts of Marx’s class struggle.

 

58 COMMENTS

  1. The implication I took from the “OK Boomer” comment was not so much resentment and envy of the boomer’s privileged position as a condescension to an assumed feeble minded geriatric in second childhood.
    But isn’t the obsession with trivial identity politics more a product of an absence of any meaningful identifiable issues to complain about? Doesn’t it suggest that all life’s struggles are taken care of and there is no more serious issue to squabble about in our lives? There are people in our society who are struggling, but they are getting on with their struggles and thinking about the day to day and we don’t hear from them so much.
    Globalism was (is) the mechanism that destroyed the leverage that the working class once wielded in an economy like ours, and the rest of the western world. And it isn’t simply a matter of employing folk in a poor country on $2 a day who will be delighted to do the same work our workers used to do for 10% of the wage. There are still around 2billion people in the world who are assessed as living on $2 US or less per day, but that can’t be a valid comparison because in NZ no one could possibly live on $2 a day. At the very least they would need a piece of ground to grow a garden and that is worth more than $2 a day in NZ or any other Western country.
    So globalism also requires the assistance of a manipulated exchange rate of currencies to make it seem as if the wage discrepancies are greater than they really are.
    It is really the world’s money system that is the most critical tool that facilitates the accumulation of the world’s wealth into fewer and fewer hands , rather than “capitalism per se. IMHO.
    D J S

  2. OK boomer. 😉

    Anyone my age (born in the 70s) knows exactly what went on. Policies that helped young people were scrapped so that older people could get tax cuts. Everyone my age saw benefits and opportunities ripped away just as we were about to take advantage of them. Friends who had been counting on an apprenticeship suddenly found they couldn’t–many ended up on the dole and have never really recovered. People who needed support to attend university suddenly found they were deemed dependent on their parents, despite some of them having left home years before. I could go on, but everyone my age knows this already. We’ve been talking about it for over 20 years. It’s just that there are more of us now.

    Sure the reforms affected some older working class people. But most of them already had a degree, or a trade, a house, or enough work experience to fall back on. By and large the reforms were a transfer of wealth to people born before 1970 at the cost of reduced opportunities and increased costs for those born after. This is the defining political experience of people my age.

    Class conflict has largely been replaced by age conflict, because that’s what matters now. People vote in their self-interest, and the boomers were a big enough population bulge to skew politics their way. “OK boomer” is just a polite way of telling boomers we’re done listening and they can go forth and multiply.

    As Leonard Cohen once said, “everybody knows”.

    • Well A, what are you going to do about it?
      What are you doing about the employment rights we gained, that were ripped from ALL of us by a handful of neo-liberal thugs? And still nearly 30 years later are still lacking.
      What are you doing about the cost of tertiary education that ANYONE who sought such an education after 1990 has been burdened with?
      Have you written to Paula Bennett and expressed your disgust? Or Helen Clark, or Michael Cullen. Or Grant Robertson for his woeful understanding of finance.
      As Chris has said, it is the ruling class that makes the rules.
      You’re dead right. Everybody knows. So why blame those who are blameless?

      • I would suggest realistically the only thing one could expect from writing to Paula Bennett is for her to collapse in gales of laughter and then toss your letter in the bin. (Unless you have some sordid sexual harassment scandal implicating the Labour Party, in which case, she’s all ears.)

    • A: “Sure the reforms affected some older working class people. But most of them already had a degree, or a trade, a house, or enough work experience to fall back on.”

      If there’s one thing that infuriates me more than the whole neoliberalism project and its dire effects on the country, it’s the sheer blinding ignorance of younger people – such as yourself – regarding the degree to which boomers were negatively affected. And your completely unwarranted resentment against us.

      You haven’t got a bloody clue what the hell you’re talking about. I know: I was there. And I’m in the oldest cohort of boomers, having been born very soon after WW2. We were comprehensively whacked about the ears by bloody Douglas and his ridiculous Rogernomics. Moreover, the pollies in the Lange government who drove the implementation of neoliberalism weren’t boomers: they were the previous generation.

      We were not wealthy; we did not benefit. Unless one counts being able to get a phone connected more speedily. We paid astronomical interest rates; couldn’t get a second mortgage, only a term loan (at a higher interest rate, surprise surprise…), 26.5% interest rate on said term loan, just before interest rates began to stabilise.

      Our jobs got restructured, other people’s jobs just vanished. Many boomers never recovered from the flattening of the economy by the neoliberal bulldozer; I know some of those people. Their stories are often tragic, and made worse by callous and ignorant crap like your comment.

      Asset sales: contrary to what young people evidently believe, only a vanishingly small number of boomers had the resources to benefit from them. Those who did would have had access to family money: farming, industry and the like. The main beneficiaries were – you guessed it! – that generation older than us, who had access to resources by and large out of the reach of boomers.

      Working class people with a degree? What? Where the hell have you BEEN, that you’d think the working classes back then accessed higher education in anything but the smallest numbers? Go read some social history! Jeez….

      Don’t pontificate about any of this stuff until you’ve made yourself better-informed.

  3. Really, A? You’d go into the dock and swear to that would you?

    You’d actually insist that the communities wiped out by privatisation and restructuring, the tens-of-thousands who lost their jobs, the families who ended up on the social scrapheap as a result of Rogernomics, were somehow able to avoid all suffering and privation because they were born between 1946 and 1965?

    Talk about magical thinking!

    • No-one claims that every boomer avoided the results of the 1980 reforms.
      Just like no-one should claims that every person who earns a high salary or income is a ruling class enabler.

    • Who said that? Would you rather have been a qualified tradie looking for a new job in that job market, or a school leaver with no skills and no experience?

      My dad was made redundant from a large state-owned enterprise. He had skills to fall back on and managed to make ends meet. It helped that the government had allowed him to buy a state house far below market value.

      More or less the same thing happened to most of my father’s co-workers and my wife’s father as well. They’re all OK and all own their own homes (now mortgage free). And these were ordinary, working class people (many were Labour Party members). Those who got free university education had a much easier ride–some were even paid by their (government) employers to study!

      Their kids got screwed. A couple of my friends got apprenticeships through family connections. The other ones who didn’t go to university ended up worse off than their parents. Those who graduated university did so with a debt that would have been the deposit on a very nice house!

      It’s a familiar story where I’m from. We watched the ladder dragged up right in front of us. Yes, neoliberalism is a problem, but no boomers would have meant no neoliberalism.

      • Well when you where voting for small government did you not correlate that with a crushing economy and shrinking commerce?

        Have you not seen what passes for a candy bar now a days. The prices have been jacked up so much and the product weight reduced so much I don’t know if they’re really puny chocolate bars or an oversized lolly.

        I mean come on mate. Don’t Fien ignorance all of a sudden.

      • want a bet ? please dont waste the time Chris has put into this profound explanation of this very contentious subject .
        go back and have another read .go on challenge yourself see if you can get it .

        be good if you could .

        and by the way a ladders still there not the same one that was there before but a ladder non the less ,do yourself a favour and start climbing it .

      • Very few of us of the generation of your father wanted Rogernomics any more than your father did. It was imposed by stealth with a cabal of five men calling themselves the fish and chip club being the only people who knew what that labour government was going to do. No one who voted labour at that election had a clue what they were voting for. They had just had it up to the gills with Piggy Muldoon’s abrasive political style, he had really got under their skin just like Trump is getting up people’s noses now.
        Once the radical changes had been implemented many who would never have voted for them initially , figured “Oh well” the die is cast now, we might as well hang on and give this new idea a chance and see if it works.” See if the country booms like never before and the benefits all trickle down on us as promised .” Others like me were certain from the first moment that it was a disaster to our country, but we were a small minority at that time. No boomer wanted to be involved in pulling up any ladder behind them to prevent the generation of their children from having the opportunities they themselves had enjoyed. It was a matter of if you believed the neoliberalism would work better for everyone or whether you didn’t believe. Even the Fish and Chip club believed what they were doing was going to make things better for everyone. They just happened to be tragically deluded.
        D J S

        • David Stone: exactly. More eloquently – and more temperately – worded than my irritated comment above.

          Young people: take note. Don’t just bloody whine about the social system we now have: organise, advocate with the government, use your vote to force change away from neoliberalism. Join a union, even! If you can find one….

          Join with boomers such as me (and many others) who have from the beginning protested – and voted – against what the Lange government did to us.

      • OK A, while I don’t wholly agree with you, I want to start with the assumption that everything you say is correct. Your parents’ house is an asset that your family has, which I agree would be very much harder to buy now. However, if you join a braying mob, all insisting that old people have too much of a sweet ride, you are tacitly contributing to the idea that the squeeze must be put on the old, because its “only fair”. Except, you won’t benefit from it, because that is just how neoliberalism works – point to a group, insist that they have it far too good, and then whittle away whatever advantage they have without advantaging anyone else, instead adding to the general sum of disadvantage. “Italian workers pay themselves far too generously” was one of the more outrageous ones I’ve seen, but claims of that kind are commonplace, all leading to much the same result. While your parents have a house, a little bit of wealth remains with your family, and I would be cautious about screaming and yelling too loud about how good they have it. You may end up helping to make things much worse for them, but not at all better for you. That is one of the reasons why you would do better directing your wrath toward the neoliberal ruling class, where the vested interest actually lies.

      • So your parents, parents in law and their siblings have done very nicely thank you, but haven’t helped you?
        How very ungracious of them. Perhaps it’s they you should blame.

      • And incidentally A, what political party were you backing in the 90s?
        Did you join the throngs that protested weekly against the cuts to services, wages, living conditions in general.
        Did you join the one political party whose policies would re-instate all that Labour and National had taken from us? Whose members, I will tell you now, were in the majority, baby boomers.
        Your ignorance makes my blood boil.

  4. A decent article but I would say the neo liberal revolution has not ended. Trade deals like the CP-TPP which lock in corporate control of our society and economy are the next stage. As is I believe the growth of a oppressive government funded framework that creates a police state backed by legislation, surveillance and ultimately force.

  5. “Not so much ‘Ok Boomer’ as ‘Ok Ruling Class” deserves to stay at the top of the pile and be commented on for some time, because it targets significant problems resulting from the pyschological fallout and societal damage of 30+ years of neo liberal hegemony and post modernist philosophies.

    How to break the Parliamentary main party “Neo liberal Consensus”, how to more equitably run a country that even with 5 million population and migrants galore, should be a ‘land of plenty’ for all? These, and Climate Action, will only be advanced by taking on Capital and Finance Capital directly. And quite frankly a population of Uber drivers, wage free interns, contractors, wage poor service workers, freelancers and debtor students–let alone the provincial neanderthals are not exactly the class warriors at this point to do that!

    But it is possible to “organise the unorganisable” regardless, as UNITE and FIRST Unions have shown. And guess what–those two private sector Unions have leaderships, delegates, and increasing numbers of members well schooled in the classic class struggle methods Chris alludes to.

    Clever tactics using social media to swamp the cops operational numbers at Ihumātao, and large numbers at Climate Strike actions show creativity is still out there. Identity oppression is part of class oppression and exploitation that affects most, it is not a competition though, nor should be subordinated, but neither should the “main game”–class conflict–defer to sectional groups to the point of being rendered ineffectual.

    I recall marching for “Homosexual Law Reform” in the 80s. The gay male leaders often seemed urban professionals from leafy suburbs that I was sure were tory voters when it came down to it. But stayed with it as it was a human rights issue, and I felt that one day blue collar gays would be able to “come out” and lead better lives too. And that is what class solidarity is all about, not slicing into each other, potential allies, as the trans section is at the moment. “Me Me Me-mine mine mine” is ok you see in the neo liberal dog eat dog world.

  6. Chris, you have hit the nail on the head with this article, especially with your outlines of the current tendency to describe things in terms of characterisation, thus obscuring significance of action and its results, and of how power relations work. And to the person above with the OK Boomer handle, I think you are failing to distinguish between privilege that can be granted or withdrawn by the actual ruling class, and real power. How older people fared during the so-called reforms of the 70s and 80s depended to a great degree upon where they already stood on the socio-economic scale; some (mainly working class) were utterly derailed by them. Moreover, there is no guarantee that if boomers were entirely removed from the picture, you would inherit the privilege you associate with them. That would largely depend upon your perceived usefulness to the actual ruling class.

  7. Really A and C? I don’t really care about your intellectual arguments or those of any generations. For me this is yet another cry of the privileged vs the rest of us today as it has been for generations. The most important thing is to not forget those who’ve come before us in this battle who taught us to organise for change. Yes, it was harder then, but it’s just as hard now.

  8. Last time I looked Chloe and the rest of the Greens were also the ruling class… ruling class is ruling class made up of politicians and NZ elite, doesn’t matter what identity group you belong to!

    We have Greens in parliament, they are not some activist outsiders of ruling class.
    We have Millennials in parliament and a range of ages … they are the ruling class too.
    We have a near millennial Prime Minister with Jacinda being born in 1980! She is the ruling class.
    We have more Maori in parliament than ever before including one co leader of Greens, one leader of the opposition and one deputy leader of Labour, aka Simon Bridges, Kevin Davis, Marama Davidson. They are the ruling class.
    We have many Chinese and Indian MP’s many of whom seem to have more influence than the leaders themselves aka Jian Yang… and off get in not by democracy, but by the list MP system which has been shown to be influenced by donations. They are the ruling class.

    So can we finally, get rid of the identity braying, and actually get to what those politicians are doing for the country and people who live in it, apart from arguing amongst themselves who is the most marginalised and more ruling class taking over every single issue while influencers make the policy!

    (Aka climate change debate has been hijacked by the identity ‘ok boomer’ comment which is not a helpful comment, and not exactly helping the environment!)

    (Kiwibuild was completely flawed and could never work, simply the demand side aka people residing in NZ is massively outstripping the ability to even try and create enough housing and infrastructure, you just need to be able to count to work that out, but clearly nobody bothered to question immigration/construction figures not matching and then do something about it!)

    The politicians in parliament are all the ruling class and they all seem to think and act remarkably similarly regardless of the huge range of identity groups there!

    Our politicians seem to fall right into the easy and lazy trap of thinking and arguing about themselves 24/7 and relying on their neoliberal/woke/right wing/Kleptocracy advisers who seem pretty set in their thinking to make harmful policy around the country regardless of who which politicians are there! The politicians don’t notice because they are too busy being offended and arguing amongst themselves about trite issues or going to International conferences to notice what is happening at home.

    • The other big issue for politicians to comprehend is that that many of the much touted new jobs and PAYE are fake.

      People are literally paying themselves when their jobs or businesses are not profitable or fake which used to be considered fraud but now people are rewarded for it!

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/117250103/former-restaurateur-ordered-to-pay-wife-24000-after-closure

      “Due to cash flow problems Varela said she and Mayorga paid employee wages from their personal funds but Varela did not pay herself.

      However, she continued to record the relevant wage amount due to her and paid the appropriate PAYE on the amount she would have received.”

      Ok why would this lady work for nothing, and pay PAYE on wages she does not even receive when she is the payroll operator! Lucky (sarcasm) nobody from IRD or anybody else seems to think this is strange behaviour, or anything is wrong with this anymore as she is awarded $24,000 compensation.

      Likewise…

      “Verma says he started work in June 2016 as a “volunteer”, working unpaid for three months before Ndarowa agreed to sponsor a work visa and gave him a contract promising him 40 hours of work a week at $20 an hour.

      That visa eventually transferred to another company, wholly owned by Ndarowa, called S-Net Technologies, and the pay rate rose to $21.50.

      Verma says he was paid properly for the first month. After that, Ndarowa would deduct money from his payslip to bring his rate down to minimum wage, and his hours fluctuated wildly. ”

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/116802378/i-have-no-hope-penniless-migrant-relying-on-foodbanks-after-boss-fails-to-pay-up

      All these so called new jobs and PAYE are increasingly fake accounting and the jobs are fake and the businesses insolvent!

      Meanwhile people are able to vote in NZ, buy houses, bring relatives over, etc on the basis of activities which are not as they claim!

      The holder of any resident class visa is entitled:[1]

      to stay in New Zealand indefinitely
      to work in New Zealand or in the exclusive economic zone of New Zealand
      to study in New Zealand
      to receive free or subsidised health care at publicly funded health services.[2]
      to free education at state-run primary and secondary schools, and subsidised fees for domestic students at private schools and tertiary institutions.[3]
      to enrol and vote in elections (after one year of residence).[4][5]
      to receive a social security benefit (after two years’ residence for Jobseeker Support, Sole Parent Support and Supported Living Payment; after ten years’ residence for New Zealand Superannuation; varies for other benefits).
      to sponsor a partner, parents or dependent children during their visa application[6]

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_permanent_residency

  9. Tremendous Post @ CT. Absolutely spot on.
    Our greasy bourgeoisie will throw any kind of muck around to avoid being noticed.
    ( Bear with…)
    That’s why our farmers are entirely without discussion which is weird on the face of it because they’re our primary industry.
    Except, of course, when they’re being belittled and pat-patted on their hokey little heads down on the farm “ye haw and slop the hogs Martha! Now, where’s ma fiddle? “. ( MSM? You know what I’m writing about. So tell us, who’s your Daddy? )
    Our bourgeoisie got their money by stealing it out of farmers pockets and have been stirring up trouble between town and country people from their tacky ramparts in the polite leafy suburbs of Auckland and Wellington from the moment the stealing began.
    I would, in fact, go so far as to say that I bet the bourgeoisie 1%er’s knew exactly how much trouble turning carefully managed and holistically farmed lands into intensive cowsploiter factories would cause. They would have known that industrialised cowsploitation would cause terrible pollution’s and soil exhaustion but they also knew that they, as the 1%ers, would make billions in the short term. After all, life’s short too so play hard, right?

  10. You just can’t keep a good old Marxist like Trotter down, but give him his dues, he’s good at what he does.

    Karl Marx, who studied law, came from a well to do German Jewish middle class family. His upbringing was as bourgeois as it gets. Agreed, Marx/Engels were very perceptive on many fronts, but when it came to an in depth understanding of human nature they fell well short.

    Class designation is simply an earlier form of identity politics. Applying the European dialectical materialist class system analysis to NZ has always been problematic, due in part to the less rigid & more fluid nature of our new world society.

    As Chris knows full well, ruling is all about divide & conquer & the globalisation elite & the legions liberal/neo-liberal enablers who prop them up are veritable masters of this game.

    Things will only change when those of all ages, ethnicity, sex, class & religion with better ideas or an axe to grind put aside their differences & declare war on the all powerful globalisation elite. Call me old fashioned but this is called solidarity & it’s severely lacking here in Aotearoa/NZ.

    • A good materialist Class Analysis of NZ is still relevant–it is just the results are not that encouraging for those that want to seriously rock the elite capitalist class.

      –NZ has a preponderance of “petit bourgeoisie”, aka self employed and small businesses and SMEs, hundreds of thousands of people thus engaged, who due to working themselves may not see themselves as capitalists but are certainly beholden to the banks (Finance Capital), and their aspirational “wannabe” world view fits nicely with the top dog capitalist class
      –the nature of work has changed from the early 80s when permanent, full time, stable work was available to many, replaced by precarious, part time, temporary, contract, gig based work
      –the proletariat is still there it is just sliced and diced and called something else and harder to organise in numbers these days, the NZ National Party still wants to exterminate Unions! unfinished business for them
      –Post Colonial fall out; many provincial land holders obviously prefer denial to thinking about sitting on stolen land and the implications of that for them, this affects any major chance of political unity with Pākehā and migrants and Māori
      –A bright spot is that Climate Change is surely one issue that virtually all New Zealanders could unite around with good strategies, plus the time is approaching when generational change will make itself felt at General Election time–watch 2023 and 2026 for some real change

      • Sure, all these things are relevant to our nations general decline & lack of moral fortitude; but as I said all these things are part & parcel of the slice & dice into ever increasing splinter groupings & interests process that keeps the globalisation establishment in power.

        Continuing to vote for a rigged globalisation party dictatorship which perpetuate this state of affairs will not make a jot of difference now, or in 2023 or 2026.

        Collective action will only really get cracking when our individual & collective lifestyles, way of life & survival are seriously threatened by an identifiable external cause or enemy. Climate change falls into this category which is why it’s becoming such a hot (excuse the pun) topic.

        If you want an enemy to blame for all the ills of our times then it’s staring you right in the face, it’s the globalisation establishment that has made slaves of us all; often in the name of furthering the cause of liberalism & freedom.

        Locally, the pillars of this edifice are being upheld by the very party political hacks you continue to vote for every election; & of course the bureaucratic, corporate, banking, media, educational & advertising globalisation elite behind them, who’re largely in the pocket of foreign interests & big business.

  11. The COL has fallen into the MSM trap as they do every election! They somehow think MSM and business represent the people instead of themselves and their advertisers selling stuff.

    As well as the focus on identity issues from the COL and their bickering… (which voters hate) there is also a slew of articles coming out to rig the rhetoric…

    Subtle election sabotage … article today from Bernard Hickey (woke and business darling) both pointing out that the COL has lied and temp immigration has been increasing (bad for housing and infrastructure)… to the startling solution, that apparently this should mean the government somehow increases permanent immigration to the TEMP immigration migrants or else the world might think we were (trigger warning) EXPLOITERS! OH NO!

    Before the brain washing on this subject by the neoliberal ruling classes…I seem to remember in NZ many people use to do a UK OE and live and work in the UK for a number of years on TEMP work visas… I failed to remember how exploitative that was considered in fact we were grateful!

    We came, we saw the world, made a bit of money (or not) with temp jobs and then RETURNED home without kicking up a fuss.

    I can’t remember feeling exploited or that the policy was racist for the UK working visas, or there was a massive entitlement syndrome that our temp petrol attendant/pub job/caregiver job/fake business would ensure we and our relatives could get permanent residency and citizenship in the UK and free health care, education, social security and pensions and state housing from the UK government for the rest of our lives, bring our parents over too for free super, free education for our kids while our relatives all inherit the residency for future generations.

    Nor can I imagine a group of militant Kiwis getting very far, by angrily expecting the above entitlements and crying (trigger warning) RACIST from the governments of China, India or the Middle East if they did not let our parents and spouses in and support them or decry that our culture was superior… in fact that sense of entitlement might instead find a bullet, torture or a bit of re -education in prison camps.

  12. Another subtle election sabotage from today…

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/property/117317608/how-a-town-changes-when-house-prices-double-in-five-years

    Great (sarcasm) to see that ‘Thirsty Liquor’ is helping bring jobs and business opportunities to the provinces – wonder whose great idea was to ‘relax’ the visas in the provinces and drive up the house prices there while fanning the resentment to government for renters of not being able to afford a house anymore and blaming the 70% home owners for it!

    Good luck COL, you got in last time by some key differences to the Natz namely reducing immigration and not signing the TPPA – now it seems that the ruling classes from Natz to Labour to Greens to NZ First… all pretty much have the same policies and do the same things, actually increase the problems and seem blind why they got in last time!

    AKA for nine years Labour’s strategy was a huge pro globalisation of NZ, immigration, a multicultural NZ not a bicultural NZ, Kiwibuild for renters, more taxes to workers on “high” wages, more trade deals, more taxes on property apart from family home, all of which failed to resonate to bring home a Labour COL victory, while less immigration and no to fake trade deals, at the last moment did!

    Labour also seem to fail to notice that migrant voters don’t necessarily vote on identity issues, judging from The Migrant Party flop and the Mt Roskill by election! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2016_Mount_Roskill_by-election and the Mt Albert by election…

    So I wouldn’t be believing those kicking up a fuss on identity issues from the MSM and woke and so called migrant leaders making money off visas, necessarily reflect the views of the voters what ever identity they are!

    In fact they could be doing a hell of a lot of damage to the party!

  13. … ” their inability to recognise what has actually been happening around them since 1984 – or the role they and their own middle-class families have played in it – is astonishing.

    What a victory for the ruling class! To create at least two generations incapable of understanding that the wealth and comfort of their middle-class parents was the necessary price of their complicity in destroying the self-defence mechanisms of the New Zealand working-class. Or that their own difficulties in replicating their parents’ lifestyle is purely and simply because their parents’ success was so comprehensive that the going rate for oppressing the lower orders of society has fallen sharply. How pleasing it must be for those at the top to see how much more willing the young are to turn on their parents and grandparents than on the true villains – the ruling class” …

    ————————————

    Cracker , Bruce!

    I mean , Mr Trotter. Pure gold , in fact !!! Capitol , old chap !!!

    I was driving up to the hospital to see my 89 year old Dad with my 93 year old Mum, ( She drove one way and I drove back, – she speeds , or to me it seems , shes always driving around in all sorts of traffic, no problems. Likes her independence. )

    And we had a discussion on how old my sister and I am. She’s 59 and I’m 56, – I’d actually forgotten and couldn’t be bothered counting…

    And guess what that makes me?,- you’ve got it !!!

    A BOOMER !- Yes ! , – I’m one of those nasty , self centered , greedy , grasping capitalistic swine who were waiting in the shadows all those years to swoop down and disenfranchise all those a generation younger than me… that’s why I rail and rant against neo liberalism on these posts , – its all been just a cover , dontcha’ know … I never meant a single word of it, – had ya’ all fooled though didn’t I?…

    But hey ! , – I couldn’t help it if I was born the same year JFK got shot !

    But lookies here,…

    Chloe Swarbrick reckons I’m one of those detestable deplorable’s… a BOOMER!

    ( Waheyyy !!! Yeehaaa !!!,- I know my identity at last ! )

    That’s OK, Chloe , – here’s one from me from my generation…please forgive us all. We’re also sorry we popularized the Green movement… dollar making, that is…

    Enjoy.

    Led Zeppelin Knebworth 1979 – Nobody’s Fault But Mine
    https://youtu.be/iwBMVg9L7Q0?t=167

  14. Thank you Chris Trotter , I am truely humbled that some could put into words some thing I could only rant about . nicely done.

  15. This article is far too narrow in scope to have any real value.
    It comes across as a piece written by a boomer who believes everything can be explained by political theory and embraces sweeping generalisations about generation x and y that are every bit as puerile as the “ok boomer” meme.
    Your last paragraph epitomises this by laying the solution with younger generations and ignoring totally the boomers who created the very situation. In my opinion that is self serving and narrow minded.
    It needs more analysis. Starting with an understanding that x and y were raised with neoliberalism as the norm. So how you expect them to understand the issues with no comparative base to work from is beyond me, especially when the boomers clearly had something to work with to frame opposition to the reforms in the 80s and 90s.
    You need to also look at the psychology of neolib economics with the premise individuals acting in their own self interest leads to competitive markets which provide the best allocation of scarce resources and capital.
    And reading the comments it just becomes immediately apparent who the boomers are and why their defensive remarks and embracing of your thoughts reinforce this change in mindset which after all is the key to the success of neoliberalism.
    I’m a boomer by the way but in no way identify with the generalisation of boomer, though I do think it is fine to generalise to simplify and aid understanding.

    • Well, you know, Duncan, there are these things called “books”. They really are amazing. Facts and figures, personal memories, quotes from official reports and other contemporary sources – photographs even! – books contain them all. Like having your very own time machine – you can travel back and find out how people lived before 1984.

      I know, I know, they’re nothing like as flash as an I-Phone and they contain waaayyy more than 140 characters, but if you persevere you’ll be amazed at how much you can learn about the world.

      I believe there may even be one or two members of Gen-X and the Millennial Generation who have mastered the art of reading – some may even have a book or two at home. I know for a fact that Chloe Swarbrick does.

      So, hey, why not give ’em a go?

    • “embraces sweeping generalisations”
      “ignoring totally the boomers who created the very situation”
      Projection much Duncan?

        • No. Before we accuse others of being lazy, spoiled, entitled, envious, blah, blah, blah (it goes both ways) we have to address our own crimes so we don’t come across as hypocrites. We’ve got oroblems with the ministry for children, NZDF, youth suicide, so on and so on. It takes an absolute genius to go oh my trauma is a little more sophisticated sophist bullshit.

          • That’s not too far off the point I was making.
            But I am beginning to see that protecting one’s self esteem and privilege is a greater force than I imagined.
            Which is why I talked about neoliberalism and the extent to which it uses psychology to further vested interests of the elite, or ruling class, and how much economics has tuned into and exploited this human phenomenon.
            That is where Trotter’s “books” fail him.
            The elites have discovered and understand and utilised and promoted the self interest of the individual to their own advantage.
            Which is why traditional class warfare does not provide a solution to the contemporary issues.
            You need to approach it with an understanding of what drives the mind of the elite.

            • Apart from running through an individual’s claims and arguments that are totally absurd I would do it to quote word for word instead of moving there words around to make them look smarter or sexier for clicks and ratings.

        • name calling Duncan is the behaviour of a seven year old in the playground .

          I do understand some people never grow up , and for some it takes an epiphany . I get the feeling though that for you you choose to stay a fool out of pure spite and lazyness . I mean why would you other wise .?

  16. Where is the class system in Aotearoa New Zealand, when the proletariat providing the products and services used by most, at ‘affordable’ prices, are made not by New Zealanders, but by external proletarians in low wage, low living standard, low regulation and thus poor countries, and in increasing manner also by imported (often temporary) proletarians, who have dangled in front of them the vague hope of PR, for working their butts off and selling themselves here, by offering labour and products and services within this country, keeping the economy and the population growing?

    No wonder we are screwed, the locals all feel, except a few no-hopers and sick ones on benefits, as some sort of entitled winners, needing the status quo to survive and get on in their lives = based on self promotion, consumer madness and endless BS artistry.

    They can even afford the identity politics theatre, offering a forum of artificial tribalism, like some form of a new religion, that binds them to like-minded, seeking to distance themselves from whomsoever, as that makes them feel so gooood.

  17. Wow, wow, wow, Chris Trotter.

    This is a nice piece of analysis and synthesis. And it could continue to be productive, indeed.

    Sustained analysis of the NZAO class structure and dependencies between so-called elite class and the middle-class can further clean the smoke-screen created by media and capital protagonists, especially in the light of required climate adaptation: loss, damages, and compensation.

    It may help the Left around the TDB to focus their energies on those socio-economic and ecological conditions that really do matter.

    What is the move of the hour?

    “Organized by-passing of the neo-liberal machine and the brainwash radiating from it.”

    We need a radical (eco-socialist) flipper to coordinate our play along this route.

    System Change. Now.

    Pinball wizard. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-J03yCE15rg

  18. The fact that baby boomers didn’t want a capital gains tax on their investment properties and scared the government of introducing one suggests they are the ruling class

    • Nope, that was pretty much what Karl would have called a “petit-bourgeois” revolt.

      Small business people were terrified that the big tax-free pay-off waiting for them at the end of all their hard work and self-sacrifice was about to swept away. They’re NZ First’s electoral bread-and-butter, those small business people – so, no surprises there.

      Also, historically-speaking, it really doesn’t pay to piss-off the petit-bourgeoisie. They have always formed the backbone of radical right-wing movements. Keep ’em sweet – that’s the smart move.

      Especially in a coalition government involving social-democrats and greens.

      • Rubbish, Chris

        Esoteric Pineapples made a perfectly good point

        If you look at the groups and individuals who railed against a CGT they were mostly right wing politicians and Boomer property owners
        “Petit-bourgeois” is meaningless in this context

    • esoteric pineapples: “….baby boomers didn’t want a capital gains tax on their investment properties and scared the government of introducing one…”

      Nonsense. Many of us were dead keen on a CGT. Herewith the reason why the government decided against it. Read and learn:

      https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/opinion-analysis/114628351/an-inconvenient-truth-about-tax-in-new-zealand

      Initially, I was pretty hosed off at the government’s decision. However. Once I’d read the above, it made sense.

    • What research showed that baby boomers didn’t want a capital gains tax on their investment properties?
      Of course you understand, that it must show firstly, that all baby boomers had investment properties.
      Please do elucidate.

      • Identity becomes an issue when it is claimed that a square can morph into circle because of some sort of investment advice. You have to be some sort of ultra orthodox neoliberal whorshiper to be able to claim that beneficiary bashing and punishing poor solo mothers is a necessary evil.

        I can agree that big government has limits. Like I don’t want the government telling me what porn I can watch or what to eat or what vehicle I can drive. But at the same time I don’t want people to commit murder so I think that particular law should be well funded so there are limits to small government as well.

        The government should be able to invest into areas that are important to the government like energy, public transport and Infeustructure. And if farming is as important to the government then if we can bail out the big banks then we should be able to bail out the little farmer or at least construct a set of financial instruments with in the ETS that farmers can borrow against and that which the government insures.

  19. Divide and rule, corn and circuses, in an economic age that, with the principle of freedom behind it, produced a flowering of individualism. Solidarity didn’t have a chance. And with that the other ideal we fought for in WW 2, democracy.

  20. OK Gen-X, Millennials, some Gen-Zers, et al, I’m guessing the true ‘Boomer loathing’ test will be how many of you tick the Euthanasia Option in the End of Life ‘Choice’ referendum, and, as a consequence of a ‘positive’ result, how many would be prepared to inject the blue-juice. Cheers! And OK, bowing out now before I get snuffed 🙂

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